Hope Happens Here: Sam Good

On a midwinter day in 2020, Sam Good made a quick decision. 


“I’m going to do a crazy thing,” she told her husband. “I’m going to apply to ride in the New York City Marathon.” 

The announcement shocked them both. It was barely a year since Good had sustained a T11-T12 spinal cord injury in an accident. Everything in her reshaped life felt so different: her body, her clothes, the way she moved through the world. 

But she was still the same person. 

Before the injury, Good had been an avid runner and enthusiastic athlete, competing in triathlons and long-distance relay races with friends. That drive hadn’t simply disappeared. Tackling the marathon might be crazy — at that moment, Good didn’t even have a hand cycle to practice on — but seemed critical to her recovery. 

“Exercise and playing sports were so much part of my life,” she says. “I just wanted to do something.”  

And so, she did.  

Over the past three years, Good has racked up hundreds of miles on her cycle, not only conquering three marathons — so far — but an epic cross-country road relay that found her riding 165 miles from Denver to Topeka.  

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Her most recent triumph came on November 5 when she rose well before dawn to race in the 2023 New York City Marathon on behalf of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Despite a stuck gear on her cycle, Good blitzed across the finish line in 2 hours and 20 minutes, shaving 6 minutes off her previous record and finishing third among female cyclists. 

“It was fantastic,” she says. “My mindset was to crush the Verrazano, sail down the other side, handle each hill as it came, and just stay in the moment.”

But, mile by mile, Good also reflected on her past as a runner alongside her future as a hand cyclist – and the incredible distance she’s travelled since the accident.

“Not that I wasn’t pushing myself hard, but I also had moments thinking about why I was doing this,” she says.

As a member of Team Reeve, Good joined forces with 81 determined teammates, including two other hand cyclists, to raise more than $708,000 for spinal cord injury research.

“That community feeling, that camaraderie — just sharing in the experience as part of the team — was amazing,” she says.

Good, vice president of Global Alliance at Bristol Myers Squibb and wife to Darren and a mother of two, first connected with the Reeve Foundation at its annual community celebration in 2022. Impressed by Reeve’s advocacy efforts and its programs supporting the caregivers so central to the lives of many living with injuries, Good quickly raised her hand to help.

This summer, she not only trained for the marathon with Team Reeve, but joined work colleagues to ride in the Bristol Myers Squibb’s 10th annual Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride in support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research; Good was the first hand cyclist to ever participate in the ride.

It was an opportunity she savored, along with the cascade of “Go Team Reeve” cheers shouted by spectators at the marathon as she furiously pedaled past.

“It’s about fundraising, but also about raising awareness,” she says. “It’s about helping people see the ‘can do.’ We can do these things. We can solve these problems. To move forward, we have to work with the attitude that nothing is impossible.”

The 2023 Giving Season is upon us. This year, I invite you to join me in reinforcing the 'can do' spirit in those facing paralysis.

And if, like me, you're eager to get into action, why wait? You can make a difference right now, shaping the future of spinal cord injury research.

About the Author - Reeve Staff

This blog was written by the Reeve Foundation for educational purposes. For more information please reach out to information@christopherreeve.org

Reeve Staff

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.